In the second half of 2005, when I'd finally developed my sought-after [minor] caffeine addiction, the Starbucks in lower Westwood Village could rely on my steady revenue stream of three dollars and fifteen cents per day for an iced grande nonfat latte. This drink, eventually nicknamed the "315", has many advantages. First off, since it's basically just a caffeinated glass of skim milk, it provides a daily supply of nutrients that those food pyramid guys would be proud of. Second, it's quicker to prepare than any of the hot beverages. But most importantly, it's completely possible to drink the entire thing in the time it takes to get from the front door of Starbucks to the crosswalk at Westwood and Wilshire. Thus, as I'm crossing the street, the milkified espresso is crossing the blood-brain barrier, and I arrive back at my cubicle fully hopped up. It was a rock-solid system that worked for many a month.
It may be less than a pack of cigarettes (I think?), but $3.15 a day adds up if you do the math. (Normally I don't do math, but I made an exception in this case.) Eventually I decided to implement the caffeination backup plan I'd considered months ago but could never pull the trigger on. The crux of said plan: switching from iced grande nonfat latte to straight up double espresso. Same caffeine content, but $1.40 less per day. (That's almost a muffin!) And Starbucks probably wouldn't want me to divulge this secret, but you know those stainless steel containers of nonfat milk by the napkins and Splenda? You can use them for free! All I have to do is dump in a quarter-cup or so and I'm good to go. With much less volume and no ice to slow me down, I'm done with that sucker within ten paces of Starbucks. Time and money saved.
I should be running the national freaking budget.